Judge berates EFCC over attitude to trials

Justice Peter Affen of an FCT High Court in Maitama yesterday castigated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for delaying trials and thereafter going ahead to blame judiciary for low pace of criminal proceedings.

The judge made the criticism when Barrister Hussaina Gambo, the EFCC’s counsel in the trial of Dr Fortune Fiberesima, a former medical aide to former president Goodluck Jonathan told the court that the prosecution only has one witness to call in a matter adjourned for two days.

He said the attitude of bringing witnesses to court in piecemeal was not helping the courts, adding, “If the judge doesn’t sit, it will be in the media that ‘judge stalls trial’. This is not fair. You people will go out and complain the court is not helping. Maybe you people should come and take over this job.”

“We work more in our houses than we work even at work but we are not appreciated. In a normal clime, this is the kind of case that a prosecution would close its case in a day,” he added when the counsel said the prosecution would call five witnesses in total to prove its case.

The court, meanwhile granted the application of Fiberesima seeking for the leave of the court to travel to the United States for one month to attend to the health challenge of his son. The court adjourned the matter to December 5th for continuation of hearing.

Earlier, led in evidence by the EFCC’s counsel, a compliant officer with Zenith Bank, Abdullahi Tafida told the court that a company TE&C Ltd of which Fiberesima is a Director received N123.8million from FERMA on 02/08/13 being payment for rehabilitation and repairs of roads.

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